iTunes for Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8: Fix unexpected quits or launch issues

If iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7 won't open, stops responding, or unexpectedly quits, try using the steps below. You may want to print this document before following these steps.

Start iTunes in Safe Mode

Open iTunes in Safe Mode to isolate any interference from plug-ins or scripts not manufactured by Apple.

  1. Hold down Shift–Control while opening iTunes. You should see a dialog that says "iTunes is running in safe mode" before iTunes finishes starting up.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. See if the issue you're experiencing persists in Safe Mode.

If you have the same issue while iTunes is in Safe Mode, proceed to the "Create a new user account" section. If you don't experience the same issue, follow these steps to remove third-party plug-ins.

Create a new user account

By creating a new user account, you can determine if the issue affects a specific Windows user account or all accounts. Follow the steps below to create a new user account in Windows Vista or Windows 7:

  1. Choose Start > Control Panel.
  2. Open "Add or remove user accounts." (If you're using the Classic view in Windows Vista, open "User Accounts," and then open "Manage another account.")
  3. Select "Create a new account" and follow the instructions to set up the account.
  4. Once you create the new account, choose Start > Log Off.
  5. Log in to the new user account.
  6. Open iTunes and see if the issue you're experiencing persists in this new user account.

If you have the same issue in the new user account, proceed to the "System-wide troubleshooting" section. If you don't experience the same issue, proceed to the "User-specific troubleshooting" section.

User-specific troubleshooting

If you experience the issue in one particular user account, the suggestions below may resolve the issue. Before proceeding, you'll need to make hidden files and folder visible in Windows using steps 1-5.

  1. Remove iTunes Preference files. Some of the files that iTunes stores settings and preferences in may be unusable. iTunes saves its preferences in two folders. Move one of them to the desktop and test to see if the issue persists. If it does, move it back and remove the second folder. The locations for the preference folders are:
    • c:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Apple Computer\iTunes

    • c:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes

  2. Create a new iTunes Library.
    1. Hold the Shift key while opening iTunes. You'll be asked to choose an iTunes library.
    2. Choose Create Library.
    3. In the following window, select a location to save the new iTunes Library.
    4. Click Save. iTunes will open the new library. After you close iTunes, you can always select the original library by holding the Shift key while opening iTunes.
  3. Recreate your iTunes Library. If your iTunes library has become unusable, rebuilding it may resolve the issue.
  4. Check for issues with content files. Sometimes an audio file can cause iTunes to quit unexpectedly or stop responding when it's analyzing gapless playback information. To determine which file may be causing the issue, follow the steps below:
    1. Quit iTunes.
    2. Navigate to the iTunes folder:
      • Windows Vista:

        c:\users\username\Music\iTunes

      • Windows 7 and Windows 8:

        c:\users\username\My Music\iTunes

    3. Move the iTunes Library.itl file to your desktop.
    4. Open iTunes. You shouldn't see any content in iTunes.
    5. Choose File > Add Folder to Library.
    6. Navigate to the folder where your music is located:
      • Windows Vista:

        c:\users\username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media

      • Windows 7 and Windows 8:

        c:\users\username\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Media

    7. Choose an artist, album, or song to add to the library.
    8. Wait for iTunes to successfully add the item to your library and perform the gapless playback scan.
    9. If successful, continue adding songs to your library.
    10. If there is an issue with one of your files, you'll notice your issue reappear after you add it to the library. You should repeat these steps, being careful not to add the files that caused the issue.

System-wide troubleshooting

When troubleshooting system-wide issues with iTunes, try these steps:

  1. Check for viruses. Windows viruses can interfere with a variety of computer functions, including iTunes.
    1. Make sure that you have current anti-virus software installed with up-to-date virus definitions.
    2. Scan your system.
  2. Check for anti-virus and Internet security software. Internet security software may cause iTunes to quit unexpectedly. Try disabling the Internet security software temporarily or exempting iTunes from any active scanning done by the software. If this resolves the issue, check with the maker of the software for an update to the software or its virus definitions. Learn more about fixing security software issues.
  3. Check for conflicting processes. Sometimes other programs and startup items can conflict with iTunes. Learn how to troubleshoot conflicts using Msconfig in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.
  4. Remove iTunes configuration files. Removing unusable configuration files from iTunes can resolve launch issues.
  5. Check the iTunes installations. An improper installation of iTunes can contribute to a variety of issues. Follow these steps to completely reinstall iTunes.
  6. Update the drivers on your PC. Outdated drivers on your computer can cause strange behavior with iTunes, iPod devices, and other apps. Learn how to update the drivers on your computer.

Learn more

Manipulating or incorrectly changing the time setting on your computer can cause iTunes movie rentals to stop playing on Windows. Follow these steps, if movie rentals stop playing in Windows.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Risks are inherent in the use of the Internet. Contact the vendor for additional information.

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